The Social Network

October 14, 2010  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Sometimes during my tenure as blogger, I will go see Hollywood blockbusters with people and document, in impressionistic fashion, our experience.

I went to go see The Social Network (2010, dir. David Fincher) with the poet and SFMOMA Community Producer Suzanne Stein. We saw the film at the Metreon and then talked about the movie. We talked about it on BART, and then over a beer at Doc’s Clock.

We both thought The Social Network was a really good movie, and we both thought it was funny that we thought it was so good. We talked about the narrative presentation and how nimbly the writers and director avoided having there be a “love interest” or a villain or a hero.

Suzanne said the end of the movie reminded her of Carnal Knowledge (1971, dir. Mike Nichols). I haven’t seen Carnal Knowledge, but I’ll try and summarize for you: Jack Nicholson’s character floats from woman to woman, hung up the whole time on the wife of Art Garfunkel’s character. At the end, Jack Nicholson’s character gets head on a couch. He’s pursued as much sex as possible his whole life yet in the end it feels unfulfilling, his expression blank, just as Mark Zuckerberg looks blank waiting for Erika to approve his friend request. Also, there are a lot of references to fellatio in The Social Network.

I tried to talk about The Ghost Writer (2010, dir. Roman Polanski) but mostly because I had just seen it the night before.

We talked about how there are not really any women in The Social Network. Except that for both Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker it’s the loss of a woman, or the inability to possess a woman, that inspires them to their creative entrepreneurial enterprise. We talked about how the real love relationship in The Social Network is between the two boys, Eduardo and Mark. We wondered whether Mark loved Eduardo, or wanted to be Eduardo, or wanted to fuck Eduardo. Or some interpenetrating combination of those things. And then how Sean Parker is the new crush who triangulates everything and Mark dumps Eduardo for Sean. But that their relationship was definitely the central relationship in the movie, which is why the betrayal is so brutal.

We talked about how we had betrayed our friends in our real lives. We also decided that this part of the conversation wouldn’t go on the SFMOMA blog. Meanwhile, we couldn’t remember what else David Fincher had directed. We suspected he directed Fight Club (1999, dir. David Fincher), so we texted Megan Brian to ask her. Megan wrote back that he did in fact direct Fight Club. She also forwarded a text from Stella Lochman, which told us who wrote Fight Club.

Suzanne talked about the rowing scene, which was shot with a tilt-shift camera. We talked about how the effect was making large things (like a huge river with a rowing contest in it) look miniature and the small elements of that scene (the rowers) look like hulking giants. We thought that was one of the themes of the film, how small things become astronomically large. Like how they pay $10,000 to make Facebook and then they sell it for $25 billion dollars. Or how they’re really happy when there are 1,000 users of Facebook and then there are 500 million.

There are a lot of films that are about tortured genius artists who are so dedicated to their art they treat their partners and family members awfully bad so that they can make this genius, crazy art. We talked about how The Social Network was one of these films, and about some of the other films like that. Suzanne has never seen Pollock (2000, dir. Ed Harris) and I never saw Sylvia (2003, dir. Christine Jeffs), but is Mark Zuckerberg the sort of Jackson Pollock or Sylvia Plath of the computer world? And also that Eduardo might be the Sylvia Plath of the computer world. But we also talked about how it was a courtroom drama, and that it was kind of an action film. Mark Zuckerberg is always running, for example.

Follow Doc's Clock on Facebook

Suzanne didn’t know who Justin Timberlake was. I mean, she knows who Justin Timberlake is, but didn’t know what he looked like. She thought perhaps it was one of the Winklevoss twins.

We talked about being addicted to Facebook. We talked about how The Social Network is already a kind of relic, because in 10 years who will even know what Facebook is? But we thought maybe The Social Network would be like Star Wars (1977, dir. George Lucas), the technology rather obsolete but the story still compelling.

We talked about how The Social Network shows that California is the Wild West. Suzanne talked about the part where Mark throws beer bottles at Sean’s girlfriend and how it was like gunslinging. We wondered why Eduardo didn’t follow Mark out to California and how it was kind of his fault.

After we left the theater, even though we both liked the movie a lot, we both also felt really misanthropic. I told Suzanne I felt misanthropic. She told me she feels misanthropic every time she looks at Facebook. But we both really love Facebook. Over the bar at Doc’s Clock there’s a sign that says “Follow Doc’s Clock on Facebook.”


  1. Max Batt Says:

    No offense but maybe you guys should rethink some of the stuff you are posting on here.

    Recounting an outing to a movie that came out two weeks ago and the uninteresting conversation that followed is not really useful or interesting to anyone who happens to be passing by.

    You guys have ZERO comments on the last like 10 posts. I’m just saying, maybe you should think about changing the direction of the blog. Doesn’t seem to be working.

  2. twiceastammy Says:

    oh wow–what a bummer. no offense, but i thought the post was funny and interesting. i also like the style it is written in.

  3. Suzanne Says:

    this post is bitchin’! thanks for checking in, max batt. open space needs more readers, like you, willing to give their free opinion on how we’re doing. xoxo

  4. Max Batt Says:

    Just maybe more editing of content? Like less lengthy / rambling posts and more often updated items. No one has time to read 1500 words in between meetings. But I do still like the title of the blog, “Open Space.”

  5. Suzanne Says:

    Hi Matt, let me refer you to our “About the Blog” page, which describes our M.O., decidedly against ‘more editing’ in favor of less. We try to support a variety of kinds of writing, short and long form, video posts, image posts etc. I invite you to skip what you don’t like, and come back for what you do. Cheers!

  6. Max Batt Says:


    It’s Max, BTW, not Matt. Obviously I wouldn’t be making suggestions if I didn’t think the blog couldn’t be better. Why do you invite comments / suggestions on the “About the Blog” page and then balk when they are made? It makes it seem like you can’t take any criticism.

    I’m just trying to help.

  7. Frances Says:

    I’m with Max. Why can’t he say this post is lame if that is his free opinion?

  8. Suzanne Says:

    He can say it, and he did!

  9. Mo Fa Says:

    I personally enjoyed the post very much, and was engaged throughout the entire read. I think it’s refreshing to be able to sit down and actually read something that gets into the little details of things. There’s way too much telegram-style micro content theses days, and a good read is never harmful.

    Except for people whose lives exist between meetings. Like Max, I guess.

  10. fylompa Says:

    I like the post overall, but I do have one problem with it. It seems that whenever arty intellectual types (self-fancied or otherwise) deign to do something mainstream, the entire experience has to occur in one of two modes. It’s either in caps or quotes. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. It’s either elevated into some kind of special and unusual cultural event — Seeing a Hollywood Blockbuster — or done in a complete spirit of smirking irony. See also: eating at a chain restaurant, shopping at a big box retailer, visiting a mall, driving through the Midwest, and going to an amusement park (let’s go to Disneyland and think about Baudrillard!). You know, these are things that millions of people do every single day without irony and without self-aggrandizement (self-aggrandizement achieved through the act of stooping). Do they really need to be set off as something so outrageous and special just because you work in the high culture industry?

  11. Greg Says:

    I feel misanthropic as well having had watched the movie for the first time since october 1st about 15 minutes ago. Does that mean that i absorbed the full essence of the movie ….or?

Add a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow the comments on this post using the RSS 2.0feed.